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This article was published more than 2 years ago. Some information in it may no longer be current. Fluctuating commodity prices have sent workers home from the oil sands left and right. And that disposable income — the wallets opened wide to buy rounds of private dances and overpriced drinks — has all but dried up with the layoffs. The club barely survived this past winter. Bachelor-party season has provided a boost through the summer months, but Ms.

Tew is dreading the cool weather. Cotton Club manager Jacquie Tew pulls open the curtains before opening.

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The pared-back disposable income of blue-collar workers — and not just from the oil patch — is just one of the many broad, long-term factors contributing to the near-complete demise of the Canadian strip club. In the face of urban gentrification, online entertainment and shifting cultural tastes, these are dying institutions.

Once a staple of afterwork — and even midday — distraction, venues such as the Cotton Club have disappeared from several major cities, and even entire provinces, across Canada. Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island both became strip-club free this year.

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Yukon and Nunavut have no permanent strip clubs, and in Saskatchewan they have long been outright banned. But even border towns such as Windsor, Ont. John, and such big cities as Toronto and Montreal are feeling a chill. Such clubs occupy a blurry role in our modern world.

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In addition to the lonely and the lecherous, and even the giggly voyeurs, strip clubs have long served as go-to spots for businessmen holding lunches and client meetings, sometimes even on the company card. In part reflecting those same shifting sensibilities, politicians at various levels have added their weight to the anti-stripping pile-on. Increasingly, city councils have been fighting what they see as a blight on the urban landscape by toughening adult-entertainment licensing rules — even as new, more controversial, forms of sexual escapism continue to pop up.

Even federal and provincial politicians have had a hand in curbing the ranks of those who work in the industry, and the freedom of strippers to ply their trade as they see fit.

The last dance: why the canadian strip club is a dying institution

Barton Street has long been considered one of the seediest stretches of downtown Hamilton — a neighbourhood known for its empty lots, rundown apartments and boarded-up storefronts. But over the past five years or so, real-estate values in the area have been steadily rising, and the sound of sirens has been gradually supplanted by the noise of construction. Amid the hubbub, the hot-pink-and-purple on the Hamilton Strip club looms on Barton as a lingering relic of another time.

For more than a decade, the historic club — one that started out as a hotel in the early s — has held the lone grandfathered licence for adult entertainment in this largely blue-collar city. But soon it, too, will be gone. The Hamilton Strip property is set to be torn down and redeveloped into a medical-office building and townhouse complex.

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As soon as the paperwork and rezoning is complete by next spring, developer Konrad Sit hopes construction will begin. Konrad Sit stands in front of The Hamilton Strip, the building where Hamilton's only exotic dance club exists. Sit is His parents own the property, along with multiple other strip clubs across Ontario.

The adult-entertainment industry has long been part of the Sit family business. But Konrad, a University of Toronto grad and the youngest of toronto sons, is quick to stress that his business is in no way connected to the dubious strip-club industry. And in Hamilton right now, redevelopment is certainly where the money is.

As soon as the permits are finalized, the strip club will close, and the building will be demolished. Stripping in steel town will be history. A minute drive away, the last standing strip club in Burlington club also on the verge of closing. Darko Vranich, the property owner and a prolific local developer, has submitted a proposal to city council to replace the windowless, stucco-clad Solid Gold strip with a storey condominium tower. That proposal, too, is still moving its way through the application process. The zoning for that area allows only for a six-storey structure, so Mr. Vranich who declined to be interviewed for this story is pushing his luck.

In Toronto, the Municipal Licensing and Standards Division allows for 63 adult-entertainment licences in the city — a cap that was set in the s, when business was booming and more than a dozen such ts lined Yonge Street alone. Today, only three clubs remain on the street — one of which is set to close imminently. The owners thought about moving the men, but Mr. Among other things, a club cannot exist within metres of a residential area — or within metres of a school. Auger says. So argues Andrea Werhun, the author of the recently published memoir, Modern Whore.

Werhun, 28, says that she has met several female dancers with aspirations of opening their own club. But, because of the licensing and zoning hurdles, their dreams are virtually unattainable.

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But alongside expansive property values and restrictive bylaws, he also acknowledges the stiff competition men faces in the age of social media — not unlike the pressure felt by movie theatres and concert halls.

The strip shift has been well documented in the film and music industries; sex — and what might be termed sex-adjacent — work is no exception. If you want to see a naked woman inyou can do it from the comfort and privacy of your couch, where the beer is a lot cheaper. As with Mr. Cooper, economist Marina hade sees the availability of substitutes as one of the driving factors contributing to the decline of strip clubs. It is virtually free to watch a cam girl, and you can do it from the privacy of your own home.

In the same way that online porn shut down the pornographic film cinemas, which used to be in every city, I really think the cam girls are having a big influence. And she thinks that may not be such a bad thing: Ms. The Crossovers, one of the few remaining strip clubs in Barrie, Ont. A second factor affecting the industry, Ms. hade says, is changing workplace mores, which the MeToo era now appears to be carving in stone: "There club to be a culture in workplaces to go and hang out and have meetings and take clients to strip clubs.

I think with far more women moving up the ladder, this is becoming increasingly frowned upon — clubs are really losing their big-spending, high-end toronto for this reason. In her college years, as a student at Simon Fraser, Ms. The drinks were cheap, the food was reasonably good. I think that is very much part of the cultural change. As the audiences have changed, so, too, has the atmosphere of the clubs.

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In the roughly 20 years since lap-dancing was deemed legal by the Supreme Court, strip clubs have shifted away from offering theatrical performances, and are now enabling more intimate, transactional sexual experiences. Although burlesque is making a bit of a comeback, glitzy stage shows are overwhelmingly a thing of the past. And so a reinforcing cycle has developed: Many potential patrons — men keenly aware, today, of the vulnerabilities women face within the adult-entertainment industry; and put off, as well, by being solicited by dancers — are staying away. And the clients such clubs are able to draw are showing up for a different kind of entertainment than they did a few years ago.

The shift has also driven many dancers out of the strip. Chelsea Fermoyle, 36, a Newfoundland dancer who has worked in the industry for 20 years, says that women bowed out in droves as the business became more and more sexualized. For those, like Ms. Fermoyle, who strictly do stage shows and basic lap dances, it has become increasingly difficult to make money.

Not that such establishments were without their undeniably shady sides to begin with. The AEAC even argued that banning exotic dancers would create a labour shortage for clubs, and it threatened in the media that such establishments would be forced to recruit Canadian students to club demand. hade says. Every one of the more than toronto dozen strip-club owners or managers who spoke to The Globe insisted that they themselves follow the rules — that they operate by the book.

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But she questions whether their demise will make a dent in trafficking — or, rather, if competitive industries, most notably illicit massage parlours, will simply step in to fill the void. Gosse says.

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In some ways, she argues, strip clubs are the lesser of two evils. Despite their reputation for seediness, and their undeniable misogyny, they are heavily regulated. Strip-club owners, too, lament the de facto freedom that such establishments enjoy. By refusing to recognize and regulate the proliferation of illicit massage parlours which typically operate under the guise of holistic spashe says, governments habitually turn a blind eye to them.